3D CAD Banner


Routing Component

Categories // 3D CAD, Tips & Tricks

Minimum Requirements

Written by: Shaun Bentley, Application Engineer

If you have ever used SOLIDWORKS Routing, you know that sometimes creating library files from scratch can be a pain (therefore we normally recommend that you tailor existing library parts to your needs). The Routing Library Manager is there to help you out, and for many components it’ll do the trick. However, the wizard may walk you through more than what you might need and, for some components, it may have some gaps. In this article, I’m going to walk through the bare minimum requirements to get a component working in SOLIDWORKS Routing. Save this article for reference so you know exactly the sort of work required to create your own Routing components!

Creating a Pipe Elbow from Scratch

The pipe elbow has some of the trickiest requirements due to it having many customizable dimensions compared to other parts. The SOLIDWORKS Help file should help give a sense of some of the requirements to create an elbow, but if you just rely only on this, you may still struggle to get your elbow working quite right. In the article below, if you see a word in bold, that means it is a strict requirement:

  • Create a sketch called ElbowArc
    1. this is case sensitive, so make sure you capitalize the “E” and the “A”
  • Create two dimensions inside the ElbowArc sketch and rename the dimensions to:
    1. BendRadius
      1. My testing concluded that this is NOT case sensitive, but you should probably capitalize the “B” and the “R” just in case.
      2. This dimension should be placed on an arc (not a line, not a spline, not a circle)
    2. BendAngle
      1. Also, apparently NOT case sensitive.
      2. This can be an angle dimension anywhere in the sketch, but you probably want to place it on the arc by using smart dimension on three points (the two endpoints and then the center of the arc).

Typically, your sketch will look like this:

ElbowArc Sketch in SOLIDWORKS

Figure 1 – A typical clean elbow sketch

But also, this is a valid sketch:

Incorrect Elbow Sketch

Figure 2 – Don’t do this, but Routing will let you use this elbow without errors.

  • Create a sweep
    1. This step isn’t required, but you probably want your part to look like an elbow
    2. You can use the “Circular Profile” feature and “Thin Feature” and that way you don’t even need to construct any extra sketches (see below)
Sketch with Circular Profile

Figure 3 – Sweep with circular and thin profile enabled

  • Add two Connection Points
    1. If you have the Routing add-in enabled, you can go to Tools, Routing, Routing Tools, Create Connection Point…

      Adding Connection Points
      Connection Points

    2. You must have a nominal diameter entered that matches one of the pipe diameters that you plan on using.
    3. Though this is not a general requirement, you should make sure the red arrow is pointed outward.
    4. Repeat this for both openings of the elbow.
    5. The straight pipe will be connected in a straight line to wherever you decide to locate these CPoints.
  • Add a Design Table
    1. In my testing, I could get away without a design table if I created it, rebuilt, and saved my model and then deleted it afterward. However, I did observe some strange behavior when I went to make changes, so you might as well just keep it there.
    2. Go to Insert, Table, Design Table and Auto-create
    3. The Design table must include the following highlighted dimensions (no particular order):

      Design Table Dimensions

    4. In my testing, I could get away with excluding Diamater@CPoint2, but I saw some strange behavior, so just keep it in there.
  • Rebuild and Save the part
    1. Preferably you place the file into the Routing library folder
      Default Location:
      C:\ProgramData\SOLIDWORKS\SolidWorks 2017\design library\routing\piping\elbows

To summarize, the minimum requirements for an elbow are:

  • A sketch named ElbowArc containing BendAngle and BendRadius dimensions, 2 Cpoints, and a design table with both ElbowArc dimensions and both CPoint diameter dimensions.
  • There are a lot of other properties you can include on your routing components, but you gotta start somewhere!